Three Qualities of a Good Expungement Lawyer

If you have made it to this blog then you've reached the right place. I'm going to tell you what three qualities you can expect to find in any good expungement lawyer, whether they are from Washington, from Seattle, or from anywhere else in the country. So pay attention, and hope this helps!

1. A Good Expungement Lawyer Won't Promise You the World

Here's the bottom line. There is probably at least a 50% chance that your old conviction cannot be expunged. It's not that it can't ever be expunged, it's just that at this point in time your conviction is just eligible to be taken care of. There are a lot of hurdles to jump through, from having a conviction that qualifies to having had enough time pass from the time of the resolution of your case. A good expungement attorney knows this, will tell you this, and will do a little bit of digging before making you pay a lot of money to try to get your conviction vacated.

2. A Good Expungement Attorney Will Tell it To You Straight

Not everyone that is eligible to have their conviction removed from their record will succeed in doing so. The decision of whether or not to wipe away a conviction is completely up the judge. It is within their discretion, as we like to say. That means there are no clear cut rules for have a motion to vacate a charge granted. If you are eligible, the judge can do it if they decide they want to do it. All your expungement lawyer can do for you is try to present you in the best light possible to get the judge to see it your way.

3. A Good Expungement Lawyer Will Tell You What You're Really Getting

The purpose of an expungement is to clear your criminal record. And that's what will happen if you are successful, sort of. What the good lawyers will tell you is that even though the court's records may be free from conviction data for you, there may be other places that data exists that are next to impossible to raid. The main place I'm talking about is the internet.

Now, that doesn't mean that you should just give up. Although information never leaves the internet, it can, and does, get buried so deep in the mass of information that it is often impossible to find if you are looking for it. But it can be out there, and it's important that you understand that.

Good luck!


Expungement Lawyer | Restoring Firearm Rights

Most people understand that to have their firearm rights restored they've got to get in touch with an expungement lawyer to help them out. And they are right in thinking that. Firearm right restoration is a lot like the expungement process in that you have to meet a bunch of requirements, petition the court, and then convince the court that your rights should be restored.

First, there are certain crimes that carry with it an automatic loss of rights to own a firearm. One of those is being convicted of a crime of domestic violence. The legislature thought it would be a good idea to prohibit people from having guns that have at one time or another had trouble with a spouse or family member.

The bad thing about being convicted of a crime of domestic violence is that there are federal rules that stand in the way too. This means that even if you get the state to restore your firearm rights there is a chance you could still be prohibited from owning a or possessing a gun through the federal government. Again, this is why it's important to get an expungement attorney to help you navigate what can be a very tricky process.

In it's most basic terms, the washington firearms restoration process is a lot like the Washington expungement process. You have to have completed your sentence (including probation and paying off fines), a certain amount of time has to have passed between the time your sentence was complete and when you ask for your rights to be restored, you have to have been convicted of a crime that allows for those rights to be restored (murder, etc. not going to do it), and you have to have stayed out of trouble in the interim. If you've done that, you may be eligible to own a gun again.

I know how important hunting is to some people. That's why we are devoted to helping every person get their firearm rights back that is eligible. If you think you've got a chance to get your guns back, give us a call. We'll check it out for you.


Washington Expungement Lawyer | Requirements for Vacation

I start almost every article like this, but if you've made it to this blog you or a loved one have probable been convicted of a crime and either want your criminal record expunged, want your voting rights back or want your firearm rights back. If that's the case, then you've come to the right place. And the best thing is that you get to get a little bit of information from a Washington expungement lawyer.

So today I thought I'd talk a little bit about what needs to be present to expunge or vacate a criminal conviction for a misdemeanor in Washington state. There are some very specific requirements, which I'm going to talk about in a second. But the bottom line is, you stay out of trouble for quite a long time and you've got a great chance to clear your criminal record, have your voting rights reinstated, and have your firearm rights reinstated.

These requirements come right out of the statute - RCW 9.96.060 - titled Misdemeanor Offenses - Vacating Records. Here we go:
1. You must complete all the terms of your sentence. This means you've got to complete your probationary period and pay all of your fines. So often people put off paying their fines and it comes back to bite them in the ass.

2. It's within the court's discretion whether or not they do this. That means that even if you meet all the requirements, there is the chance that the judge will tell you no, they won't vacate the conviction. You've got to be ready for that.

3. If any one of the following are present you MAY NOT have your record expunged:
(1) there are any pending criminal charges in any court in the United State;

(2) the offense was a violent offense or an attempt to commit a violent offense (class A felony, some categories of manslaughter, kidnapping, and arson, etc.);

(3) the offense was a DUI (yes, it's not possible to vacate a DUI);

(4) the offense was one of a number of sex offenses;

(5) domestic violence was involved and one of these factors is present - you didn't let the prosecutor know about the request to vacate; you have a previous domestic violence conviction; you lie about having a previous domestic violence conviction; less than five years have passed since the case was completed (this includes probation);

(6) Less than three years have passed since the case was completed;

(7) the offender has been convicted of a new crime in this state since the date of conviction;

(8) the applicant has already had a conviction vacated; or

(9) the applicant has had a no-contact order put in place against them.
And that's it. If your head is spinning right now I completely understand why. That's why you want to get yourself a good expungement lawyer to help you through the process. For one thing, you'd hate to start the process, pay a bunch of money and then find out you aren't even eligible to have your record vacated yet.

Bottom line, you stay out of trouble and you have a great chance of getting your criminal conviction expunged. The process is set up to be hard and to be complex for a reason - people don't like erasing criminal records. But if you follow the steps, are eligible for expungement, and get the right person to help you, it can happen.

Washington Expungement Lawyer | How the Process Works

If you've made it to this blog you are probably interested in expunging your criminal record. If so, then you've come to the right place. Though I can't tell you everything you should do to vacate a criminal record (you really need a Washington expungement lawyer to finalize everything), I'll tell you what you can do to get started, and I'll tell you what we do when people call us for help.

First things first, before you get going too far, before you throw a bunch of money down the drain, you need to find out if you are eligible to have your criminal record expunged. To do that is pretty easy. You can try to remember what your criminal record is (if it isn't long it shouldn't be too hard) or you can ask for it from the Washington State Patrol. $10.00 and a request will get your entire criminal history, which I need to figure out if you are eligible for reinstatement.

Once you get all of your criminal history information we'll be able to tell you pretty quickly whether or not we think you might be eligible. But it doesn't end there. We don't want to do all of the work required to vacate your criminal convictions, restore your voting rights, or restore your firearm rights unless we think there is a good chance of success. Because of that, we typically ask for a small fee to investigate your case and formulate an opinion of whether or not vacation or expungement is an option.

If it is an option, and you think you want to move forward, then we quote you a fee and if you agree to it we file the paperwork for you. Once the paperwork is filed a hearing is set to determine whether or not the court will grant the expungement, and we go from there.

One thing is certain, though, you want to talk to a Washington expungement attorney before you get started to make sure you aren't wasting your money. Why move the court to vacate your criminal record if they aren't allowed to do it according to the law.

There you go, how the process works. If you have questions, please give us a call. We'd love to help.


Can You Expunge a Washington State DUI?

One of the questions we get all the time is, "Can I expunge my Washington State DUI?" And the reason is simple, for most people who have any kind of criminal record, this is it. A DUI can happen to anyone at anytime, and it only takes one bad decision to have something on your criminal record following you around.

The sad thing is, though, that no matter how many Washington expungement lawyers you talk to, they are all going to tell you the same thing - Washington State DUIs are not expungeable or vacatable. You cannot expunge or vacate a DUI from your record in Washington State. Period.

The rules regarding this are controlled by statute. RCW 9.96.060(2)(c) clearly states:
An applicant may not have the record of conviction for a misdemeanor or gross misdemeanor offense vacated if any one of the following is present: (c) The offense was a violation of RCW 46.61.502 (driving while under the influence), 46.61.504 (actual physical control while under the influence), or 9.91.020 (operating a railroad, etc. while intoxicated);
Sadly this means you can never have a DUI conviction vacated or expunged (though you may be able to have a lesser crime pled to in lieu of a DUI (reckless driving or negligent driving 1st degree) if you can convince the judge to do it).

There are a couple of reasons for this, though they are probably of no relevance to you. First, misdemeanor convictions are expungeable after 3 years have elapsed since your criminal case was complete. But, with DUIs, they must remain on your record for at least 7 years, since that is the time period within which a previous DUI may be used against you. Most judges are remiss to vacate a DUI conviction because they want it to be visible on a criminal history if you EVER get in trouble. But that doesn't mean your Washington expungement lawyer can't give it a shot. If we can show there is a great hardship because of this on your record, it is possible that it might get expunged.

In the end, sadly, the answer generally to this question is no. But you can't know for sure. If you think you may qualify to have your DUI or other criminal conviction expunged, call a Washington expungement lawyer. They can take a look at your specific situation and give you an analysis of your eligibility.


What is Expungement in Washington State?

If you have been convicted of a crime in Washington State, no matter how small or trivial, I'm sure you've thought about ways to get it off of your permanent record. It's no fun at all having to check the "yes" box when asked if you've ever been convicted of a crime, not knowing whether or not a prospective employer will even give you the chance to talk about it.

Well, I've got some good news for you. If you have been convicted of a crime in Washington (before I get too far, some crimes don't qualify - more on that later), it is possible to get it removed from your record. The correct terminology for it isn't expungement, however, it's vacation. It takes a lot of work, and the help of a Washington expungement lawyer, but it can be done.

Expungement, by definition, is the actual destruction of an adult conviction record. What I mean is, someone actually goes in and destroys all of the files. Poof. Gone. Expungement is possible for non-conviction data, which is narrowly defined by statute (for example, an arrest that leads to no charges filed). The state patrol will literally go into their computer database and hit the delete button.

Vacation of criminal arrest records is a little bit different. With vacation, what you are asking the court to do is withdraw the conviction from your record, even though the records are not destroyed. When that happens, you can then ask the court to seal those files so that no one else can look at them (getting confusing enough yet? This is why it's critical to get in touch with a Washington expungement lawyer to help). If you are successful in this process, you will have the ability to tell future employers that you were NOT convicted of that crime. It's effectively a way to get your criminal conviction removed from your record.

But, make no mistake, they don't make it easy. There are many many different rules and regulations that need to be followed, a specific amount of time needs to have passed since you were convicted of the crime you want expunged, and you can't have been in any trouble since your last conviction (generally). It's a tough row to hoe, but it can be done, particularly if you have a good expungement lawyer to help walk you through the process.

Now that you know what expungement of criminal records is, what vacation of criminal records is, and what sealing of criminal records is (oh, don't know that yet? It's when the court seals your file so that no one can look into it - this prevents anyone from discovering what the case was about once it is vacated) you probably want to know whether or not you are eligible to have your criminal record expunged. We'll talk about that next time.


Welcome to the Washington Expungement Lawyer Blog!

Welcome to the Washington Expungement Lawyer Blog, a blog, as you might guess, dedicated to teaching, discussing, and analyzing expungement law in the State of Washington. As you might guess, I'm a Washington expungement lawyer. I've studied the law in this area, know the ins and outs, and am excited to help you vacate, seal, or expunge your criminal record.

So stay tuned. I'll have a lot of updates here, including information you must know to even tell if you are eligible to have your record vacated, what is actually possible in the State of Washington, and how a Washington expungement lawyer can help you out.